0.5% rise in November electronic card retail sales tops estimates

New Zealand retail spending on debit, credit and charge cards rose more than expected last month, stoking optimism for a fourth-quarter sales rebound after a surprise decline in the third quarter.

Electronic card transactions rose 0.5 percent, seasonally adjusted in November, after a 0.4 percent increase in the previous month, Statistics New Zealand says.

Actual sales rose 6.2 percent in November from the same month last year. This beat a Reuters survey forecast of a 0.4 percent monthly gain for a 4.6 percent gain in the year.

The biggest increases were for hospitality, such as accommodation, bars, cafes and restaurants, up 2.6 percent, and durables, ranging from furniture to household appliances, up 1.6 percent, the government statistician says.

The electronic sales data comes after figures last month showed retail sales volumes fell 0.4 percent, seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent in the third quarter, among figures that had economists fretting third-quarter gross domestic product due out on December 20 will be weaker than expected.

The November figures follow "broad-based growth in October transactions, setting Q4 up for solid growth", UBS economist Robin Clements says in a brief initial assessment.

Transactions for core retail groups, which exclude motor vehicle-related industries, rose 1 percent in November, seasonally adjusted after a 0.3 percent gain in October.

Fuel was the only category to register a decline, dropping 0.8 percent.


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